Canada-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group chairwoman Judy Sgro has invited group members to sign a letter asking the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to address Beijing’s unilateral changes to flight route M503.
China announced the changes at the end of last month, breaking its agreement with Taiwan that southbound flights on the flight route should operate 6 nautical miles (11km) southwest of the route.
It also said it would allow eastbound flights on the W122 and W123 flight paths, which the two sides had agreed not to launch before details of their implementation were confirmed.
Representative to Canada Harry Tseng (曾厚仁), on behalf of the government, sent a letter to ICAO Council president Salvatore Sciacchitano on Wednesday last week, urging the organization to address the issue and provide timely support.
He also called on Canada and international society to pay close attention to the issue at a parliamentary briefing that Sgro held on Wednesday, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada said.
Tseng said Taiwan hoped that Canada would voice concerns about Beijing’s continued attempts to heighten tensions across the Taiwan Strait and its disregard for civil aviation safety, the office said.
Sgro said that the friendship group was collecting signatures from its members on a letter addressed to Sciacchitano to urge the organization to deal with the issue, it said.
Initiating a joint letter shortly after a single incident due to its urgency, importance and seriousness “is quite rare,” Tseng told the Central News Agency.
Although Taiwan is not a member of the ICAO and there is no precedent regarding the issue, the ICAO is likely to take some form of action, and at least discuss the incident internally, he said.
At the parliamentary briefing, Tseng also discussed the situation in Taiwan after its Jan. 13 presidential and legislative elections, the office said.
He spoke of how China claimed that the election results did not reflect public opinion, how it lured away Taiwan’s diplomatic ally Nauru, prevented Taiwan from hosting the Asian Men’s U20 Volleyball Championship this year and is considering suspending tariff concessions on more Taiwanese products, the office said.
Many Canadian lawmakers attending the briefing were very concerned about China’s interference and disinformation campaign during Taiwan’s elections, fearing that Beijing might do the same during Canada’s election, it said.
Tseng said that the scale and intensity of Chinese interference leading up to last month’s elections were greater than ever, including the use of artificial intelligence to spread rumors and vilify candidates on social media platforms, the office said.
Taiwan was able to deal with the issue, because of its vast experience in countering such disinformation, Tseng said, adding that its robust civil society also helped to verify suspicious information promptly.
The nation is willing to share its experiences with Canada and provide suggestions, he added.
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